Imagine being in a position to interview the world's greatest entrepreneurs and small-business owners every week for over half a decade. Imagine the tips, techniques, lessons and insights you'd gain.
You'd hear TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie advising you to "hire staffers who match your target demographic." Or Zipcar CEO Scott Griffith telling you to "tackle unpleasant tasks first thing in the morning." And Bubbles Galore Car & Dog Wash owner John Good suggest that you "borrow through peer-to-peer lending." You'd hear Woopaah founder Stella Grizont's advice on how to "respond to negative customer feedback positively," while Arien Rozelle of Feeling Anxious PR coaches you on how to "turn your inexperience into an asset."
You could write a book based on everything you learned.
Which is exactly what JJ Ramberg, host of MSNBC's popular program Your Business (featured here on OPEN Forum) has done. Along with her MSNBC colleagues Lisa Everson and Frank Silverstein, Ramberg has sifted through six years of MSNBC interviews, culled the very best tips, and compiled them into a terrific new book, It's Your Business: 183 Essential Tips That Will Transform Your Small Business.
Advice for Busy People
If ever there existed a definitive list of solid, actionable tips on how run a successful small business or start one up, this is it. Knowing that entrepreneurs have no time to waste, Ramberg presents simple and effective guidance that can be put to use right away, and shows that the secrets of small business are often less about the grand plan and more about the small details.
It's Your Business is divided into eleven chapters, each with a dozen or more tips covering the gamut of small business issues. Here are some of my favorites:
Jason Goldberg, founder of Fab.com: "Don't choose investors based on valuation alone."
Lean Startup author Eric Ries: "Don't be deceived by paying attention to the wrong numbers."
Ross Intelisano, partner of New York law firm Rich, Intelisano & Katz LLP: "Make your recommendation and then step aside."
Michael Bagley, owner of Fav's Treatery in Florida, NY: "Don't decrease price; increase value."
Stella Grizont, managing director of Ladies Who Lunch and founder of Woopaah: "Respond to negative customer feedback positively."
Scott Gerber, founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council: "Think like a start-up."
But Ramberg doesn't just curate the many tricks-of-the-trade from the scores of small-business owners, entrepreneurs and opinion leaders that have appeared on her show, she combines them with her own experience founding GoodSearch.com, a successful Yahoo-powered search engine that donates to charity with each search.In fact, one of the most valuable aspects of It's Your Business is knowing that Ramberg comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, is an entrepreneur herself, and a socially responsible one at that.
For a Good Cause
"I started my company, GoodSearch.com, in 2005," she writes. "It was a typical start-up, founded out of my one-bedroom apartment in New York City. GoodSearch is a socially responsible company that empowers people to turn their everyday actions into ways to do good. Each time someone searches the Internet, shops online or dines out, a donation is made to their favorite charity or school. More than 15 million people have used GoodSearch, and we've raised $10 million for good causes. Together with my brother and co-founder, Ken, I've dealt with all of the issues we touch on in this book."
If you've been following the political scene unfolding in Washington during the run-up to the presidential election, you'll know that small business has become a hot topic. With It's Your Business, JJ Ramberg shows you what's really happening on Main Street, tracking small-business trends and issues while helping business owners navigate an often uncertain environment.
Read more reviews by Matthew May.